Libertarian Cato Institute Rates the States: New York 'Least Free' - Literally No One Surprised

AP Photo/Hans Pennink, Pool

Every year, the libertarian Cato Institute ranks the states on a variety of indicators, calling this the "Freedom in the 50 States" Report. There are quite a host of indicators taking in both economic and personal freedom, and it's a profoundly interesting read; by all means, look up your own state and see where your overall rating lands. (Our own Alaska comes in at #15.) No one should be surprised, of course, at what state comes in last: New York.


New York once again has the dubious distinction of being labeled “the least free state” in America, according to a report issued by libertarian-leaning think tank The Cato Institute.

The Empire State ranked dead last — 50th — for policies impacting economic, social and personal freedoms in 2022, the report claims.

By comparison, Florida ranked 2nd after New Hampshire as the most free state in the union.

Cato said New York is a fiscal basket case.

The state ranked 50th for economic freedom and scored at or near the bottom for debt and state and local taxation, government consumption, land use and labor policy.

Look at the bottom five, in fact: Hawaii is #49, California is #48, New Jersey is at #47, and Oregon at #46. What, one might ask, do those states have in common?

Take a look here at North American Moving Services' "National Movers Study" for 2022, the most recent year for which they have data. Look at the states where people are leaving; three of Cato's least free states are experiencing outbound traffic, those being New York, New Jersey, and California. Over half a million people fled the Empire State in 2022, mostly for Texas, Florida, and other low-tax, high-freedom states. Texas rates #17 on Cato's ranking; Florida is #2. 


There's a pattern here if only the Democrats who preside over all of these least-free, population-shedding states were astute enough to realize it.

The results of this are profound. My colleague Bob Hoge has recently documented how New York City is having to make huge cuts in city services due to the massive influx of illegal aliens into the sanctuary city. New York City (also governed exclusively by Democrats) is reduced to begging for money, as Mike Miller points out. And Nick Arama informs us how the city and state are now even taking heat from the celebrity clique, which normally supports Democrats despite all the economic ruin they have wrought.

So when does this turn around? And how?

Cato recommends New York policymakers slash spending and taxes, pay down debt and abolish rent control laws.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office had no immediate comment.

Of course, Kathy Hochul's office had no comment. There is no comment they could make that would not be an admission of failure, and at some level, they must know that. They never have had any comment of substance on New York's ongoing collapse, and never will. Why? Because, at some level, they are forced to confront the internal contradiction: that the policies and laws they have put in place in decades of Democrat government have caused the mess they are in now. They have caused the tax base to collapse, national Democrats (the Biden administration) have aggravated the illegal immigration crises that are rocking New York City, and the city and state tax rates and regulations are driving producers away; anyone with any resources has been and will continue to seek greener pastures.


And in every election, the Empire State's voters keep following the rule, "vote the scoundrels in." Until that changes, nothing else will.


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